Introducing Jumpotron


I have been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine for a while now. Its search isn’t as good as Google’s, but after coming for the privacy, I stayed for the goodies.

The feature that is most relevant for this post comes in the form of !bangs. A !bang is a word somewhere in your query that makes the query redirect to somewhere else. “Somewhere else” can be many different things: !g redirects to Google, !w redirects to Wikipedia, !cliki redirects to Cliki, etc.

If, for example, you’re looking for “Common Lisp”, and you want a Wikipedia page, you search for “Common Lisp !w”. The query will be redirected to Wikipedia, and you’ll immediately be on the page you’re looking for.

There are thousands of !bangs built-in, and you’ll probably find most of them to be very intuitive. But there’s a problem: You can only use !bangs that DuckDuckGo has added. You can suggest new !bangs, but you could get much more out of this if you had more control. Jumpotron is designed to give you that control.

Jumpotron is a self-hosted web service written in Common Lisp that is designed to be used as your primary search engine. You can define your own trigger words to do different things, and if no trigger word is found you can make the query fall through to another search engine. You can use it as a replacement for bookmarks, or to add your own !bang-like words. If that’s not enough you can extend Jumpotron to do other things when a query with a certain trigger word comes in.

Configuration of “jumps”, as the actions Jumpotron takes are called, are defined at the REPL of your favourite Common Lisp implementation. Jumpotron is developed on SBCL, but it should work on other implementations too.

Basic jumps can be defined like this:

;; Make any query containing "@jumpotron" redirect to Jumpotron's GitHub page
(jumpotron:define-redirect "@jumpotron" "")

;; Redirect all queries that don't match anything to DuckDuckGo
(jumpotron:define-redirect nil "{~A~^+~}")

Then you start Jumpotron:

;; Starts Jumpotron on port 5000

;; Starts Jumpotron on port 8765
(jumpotron:start 8765)

After that, when you go to http://localhost:5000/jump?q=@jumpotron, you’ll be redirected to Jumpotron’s GitHub page, and going to http://localhost:5000/jump?q=anything+else will redirect to DuckDuckGo.

It’s also possible to place the query directly after the /, but the /jump?q=<query> format should be preferred.

The only type of jump currently implemented is a jump that redirects you to somewhere else based on a FORMAT control string. The words in the query will be passed as arguments to FORMAT.

Documentation about extending Jumpotron can be found on its GitHub page.


Found a problem? Have a question? Shoot me an email.